I want to speak to something as clearly as I can. I have always tried to keep my remarks non-partisan. When I thought the Democrats were right, I have stood with them. There were a few times that I did this to the chagrin of my Republican friends. That’s my role as a minister – to have a prophetic voice.
But I strongly disagree with those who are protesting against the current efforts of Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly seeking to make budget cuts and develop tax reform. Our great state cannot continue on the same path of tax, spend, and borrowing. Changes are necessary and the vast majority of voters demand it. It would be “immoral” if the same path of fiscal irresponsibility continued and the will of the voters was ignored. Yes, that would be “immoral.”
These are difficult and lean times requiring extraordinary character. Not the kind of attitude that says, “Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie,” or “Don’t take my government assistance check from me,” but the spirit of sacrifice. I can tell you from my experience as a lobbyist in the North Carolina General Assembly, I think the leadership is trying to make the cuts and necessary sacrifices as equally shared as possible. And no matter what course they take, there will be pain. Nevertheless, like a doctor treating an ailing patient, he knows that sometimes there must be suffering before there can be any healing.
There is a great divide between me and other ministers like Rev. William Barber of the NAACP. I believe that according to the Scriptures the primary responsibility of government is to suppress and judge evil – to protect the God-given, unalienable rights of the people (Rom. 13:1-6). Government may legitimately tax to this end. But the state is not authorized to confiscate the private property of the people and give it to someone it believes needs it as an act of charity. That’s not real charity – that’s stealing and an act of tyranny. And that’s “immoral” – even if you do it in the name of the poor and the needy!!!
Neither can I understand why I have never seen these ministers participating in “Moral Monday” come to the NC General Assembly and speak against policies that contribute to the breakdown of marriage and the family, alcohol use and abuse, gambling, etc. – the very kind of things that contribute to longer lines for public assistance – the very kind of things that exacerbate poverty. Nevertheless, they are loud and quite visible if a new government initiative forces people’s hands out of the till. I tell you, its misplaced priorities. And I make no apology for saying it’s an “immoral” approach to addressing our state’s many problems.
Agitate, agitate, agitate, that is the method of these ministers on the left. I’m not happy with everything our lawmakers put forward; nevertheless, I hope you will join me in a sincere and different means of impacting their efforts. Let’s pray, pray, pray!!! They are but human beings facing problems that are so complicated and difficult to overcome, they will need divine direction and assistance.
North Carolina lawmakers are under incredible pressure at this time. Let’s be patient with them. Let’s be willing in our personal lives to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to make North Carolina stronger. May each of us commit ourselves afresh to addressing the sources of our many collective troubles – not just throw money at them. And finally, let’s pray, pray, pray for our leaders and our great state.
Won’t you join me? This is the movement we really need in North Carolina.